“Blind optimism is the last thing the world needs – a recipe for disappointment.  But what about optimism based on careful reasoning? On digging below the surface for the ideas and the trends that really do add up to something promising?  That’s what’s on offer here. Stevenson wears no blindfold. His tools are curiosity, open-mindedness, clarity and reason.  That makes his journey intriguing… and ultimately exhilarating.” - Chris Anderson, TED Curator

So, it’s done. I’ve travelled over 60,000 miles across four continents, talked to over thirty geniuses, met four robots and had two terrible conversations with computers. I’ve contemplated immortality, the end of capitalism and a new age of human evolution. In the process I’ve attended an underwater cabinet meeting, helped invent one cocktail, been insulted in the Outback, made a brace of new friends and had near death experiences (thank you Tracy). I’m not the same person I was when I started.

16 Chapters, 118,366 words submitted and you can pre-order it using the links below if you like (I’d like it if you’d like to do that!) It’s out January 6th in the UK, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, and February 4th in the US and Canada.

Amazon UK: An Optimist’s Tour of the Future

Amazon US: An Optimist’s Tour of the Future: One Curious Man Sets Out to Answer “What’s Next?”

Here’s the UK (left) and US (right)  covers.


This site will soon be revamping itself to let you know what’s happening with the book and the issues raised in it. They’ll also be news of some upcoming speaking appearances and the stand-up show that I’d better start writing…. but for now… a few days off.

Here’s the final sixteen chapter titles – and what you can expect in each one…

P A R T   1 :   M A N

Chapter 1: “The world’s most dangerous idea.” – Meeting those in search of biological immortality

Chapter 2: “The most wondrous map.” – the Personal Genomics revolution and the world’s most pointless sign

Chapter 3: “My lab should not be trusted.” – Synthetic Biology – harnessing the power of life …and the end of the world

P A R T   2 :   M A C H I N E

Chapter 4: “Can you turn all the buttons on?” – Sociable Robots and chocolate

Chapter 5: “Like explaining Shakespeare to a dog.” – Intelligent Machines and dog literature … and the end of the world (again)

Chapter 6: “Invisibly small and magical.” – Nanotechnology and cleaner bathrooms… and the end of the world (again, again)

Chapter 7: “The biggest, baddest kid on the block.” – A new era of spaceflight, jailbirds and bad food

Chapter 8: “A constant and complete intercourse.” – The Internet, world peace and porn (and a bit about the end of the world, of course)

P A R T   3 :   M O T H E R   E A R T H

Chapter 9: “World leaders still don’t really get it.”- Managing the air and fart beans (and, in a surprise appearance – the end of the world)

Chapter 10: “I’m a disruptive guy. I like disruption.”- The off-grid solar power revolution and nearly dying (twice)

Chapter 11: “The Black Phantom.” – a cooker that could change the planet and the world’s friendliest country

Chapter 12: “A little bit of a big amount.”- managing the land and being insulted by Aussies

Chapter 13: “The best job in the world.”- attending an underwater cabinet meeting and talking to a president, contemplating world population and meeting the super-rich.

P A R T   4 :   M E

Chapter 14: “Making a road where there isn’t one.”- trying to get a personal reboot to handle the future

Chapter 15: “Future Shock.”- personal reboot part 2

Chapter 16: Hello, and thanks for all the fish. – pondering my genome and the future of the planet, and fish.


  • Comment by Kat — August 15, 2010 @ 9:04 pm

    Ah go on then :) So pleased to see you finally got there in the end, and I can’t wait to read it. Drinkies very soon, eh?

  • Comment by Nicola Rowsell — October 30, 2010 @ 10:41 am

    well done Mark, i’ll be ordering my copy
    Nikki x

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